What can I do if I have been unfairly disqualified from the hiring process?

I have been on an ongoing hiring process with the county sheriff’s for 911 dispatch, I have complete all tests, have held and successfully fullfilled an interview with the dispatch department, went to orientation, and never once was asked anything regarding my tattoos since their policy states they just must be

Asked on September 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Most employment is "at will". This means that an employer can set the terms and conditions of work much as it sees fit; this includes changing workplace policies. Accordingly, an individual can be denied employment based on their tatoos or for any reason or no reason at all. The exceptions to this would be if the terms of a union or collective bargaining provides otherwise. Additionally, no form of legally actionable discrimination must be involved in an applicant's treatment. Therefore, if their race, religion, gender, nationality, disability, age (over 40) or the like was the reason for their not being hired, they would have a claim. Otherwise, their treatment was legal.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there is nothing you can do. Except for not being allowed to discriminate against certain protected categories or groups, such as against people due to race, national origin, religion, etc., employers, including the sheriff's office, have full discretion over who to hire or even consider for employment. And there is no legal protection for body art (e.g. tatoos); an employer can decide to not hire someone due to their tatoos, and that is legal.

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